Talking Points Memo: Walker Releases E-mails From Talks With Key Dems — And Dems Fire Back

March 8, 2011- Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) office has now released documents from its negotiations with two of the 14 state Senate Democrats who had left the state in order to block budget quorum — state Sens. Tim Cullen and Bob Jauch — in an effort to demonstrate that he could give up some of his proposals that have been widely derided as union-busting of public employees.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, one of the Dem point men is now only slamming Walker for releasing the e-mails:

Cullen characterized the talks as "discussions" rather than negotiations since he and Jauch weren't speaking on behalf of other Democrats. Jauch also cautioned that the two sides had never reached a final deal.

Cullen said he was disappointed Walker released the e-mails.

"I've never seen negotiations be done successfully in public," he said. "I thought they were bargaining in good faith."

The e-mails show some degree of relaxation in Walker's more blatant anti-union provisions — though collective bargaining would still be heavily circumscribed from where it has been in Wisconsin:

• Under the current proposal, unions would need to seek certification elections every year, starting with an election this spring, and achieve over 50% of all eligible voters/workers. In the newly-floated proposal, they would instead only have to seek election every three years, starting within one year of the bill becoming law.

• Some collective bargaining rights would be restored, relating to workplace safety.

• Other issues such as classroom size and mandatory overtime would be bargainable — but both labor and management would have to agree to discuss it in order for bargaining to happen.

• A provision that salary increases would be bargainable — but could not rise above inflation unless subjected to a local referendum — would be removed.

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